Chapter 99. Snakes and Ladderless Holes for Snaggin’ Smiggin
I mentally prepared myself for a long fall into a deep chasm, but then the hole suddenly moved to the left, and I landed head-first in a muddy puddle. I didn’t even have my hat on to cushion the fall; but was relieved I’d avoided the hole.
After I’d sat up and wiped the mud from my eyes, I saw the hole had moved under where Smiggin had been. Elle was standing beside the hole, but the holiculturist was nowhere to be seen.
I put my hat back on, and it felt good to be reunited with ol’ corky. We all gathered around the hole. Smiggin was sitting at the bottom of it; looking disconsolate but still clutching some of its green hoard.
Cathy Keeps Quiet about Snaggin’ Smiggin
I asked Cathy how she’d turned the hat into a snake and moved the hole. She said we all have our own special powers, and they wouldn’t be special if everybody knew about them.
Being a shapeshifting, chameleonic one-half of a legendary vegetarian werewolf I just had to agree with her, and left it at that.
Snakes and ladders is a popular board game.
Down in a Hole is an Alice in Chains song.
Hi, it’s G.G. Howling, literary correspondent at the Greenygrey, finishing off working-class week at the Greenygrey. My human parallel, J.K. Rowling, is a woman done good from an ordinary background, living as a single mother on benefits before finding success.
While I haven’t heard J.K. talk about class I remember Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend talking about her struggles as a working-class writer; on Melvyn Bragg’s On Class and Culture I think; with her (working) class not really valuing her work, and the upper classes not really interested in a working-class writer.
Marc Latham can relate to this, although he has also had help and made valued connections with people from both the working-class and upper classes.
So, after focusing on the working-class this week, we’ll end it by considering its place amongst other classes and cultures in modern Britain.
As this is the Greenygrey, we of course have to consider both sides of the argument. Film-makers like Ken Loach and Alan Bleasdale created realistic but romantic portrayals of the working-class from the 1960s to 1990s, mixing gritty depressing situations with the hope and spirit of people determined not to let the system grind them down.
John Lennon of course sung of this in the Working-Class Hero song.
Perhaps these are old hat to the younger multicultural generation, and they relate more to the street stories of Noel Clarke and Ronan Bennett?
The other side of the coin to the romantic – realistic portrayal of the working-class is like that of Boris Johnson, who blames the working-class for not trying hard enough; living instead in a hazy old world self-sympathising stupor.
But even if the working-class try, it’s not always easy. Mass immigration means there’s more competition, which is usually the government or EU’s fault rather than the migrants, and employers are able to hire and fire more easily, as well as offering less work. Zero-hour contracts are the new novelty harking back to Victorian workhouse times.
And work environments aren’t always that nice anyway; or even universities. When Marc Latham tried to work hard at the start of his PhD thesis in university because of financial difficulties he was persecuted as a pushy troublemaker by his first year supervisors!
The Working-Class Green and Grey
In social terms, the Greenygrey was born between the more green upper classes Marc Latham had mixed with while travelling and in university, and the more grey traditional working-class life portrayed by Loach and Bleasdale Marc related to; although he grew up in a working-class green countryside town.
But, as with everything Greenygrey, the two sides (classes) are not entirely separate, and there are green working-class people and grey upper classes; and Marc Latham similarly thinks green sometimes, and other times grey.
While in some ways, some times he agrees with Boris Johnson that people should work more, in other ways he thinks that the working-class who don’t work to chase money and materialism are living an ideal life; like Native Americans, African tribal people or Australian aborigines.
But, trying to live a life focused on old ways family and community is precarious in a globalised world, and as the plight of other indigenous people has shown, it’s an almost certainty that they’ll be preyed upon by other cultures and big business.
Leading into Wolf, Wildlife and Environment Week
While Jeremy Clarkson’s anti-environmentalism is about as grey as can be, so is usually anathema to Marc, sometimes he does seem to make sense when arguing against policies that are going to have little or no impact on the environment.
While the green of Marc doesn’t like policies that unnecessarily harm the environment, the grey of Marc doesn’t like policies that unnecessarily make life difficult for the poor and vulnerable.
Therefore, he is still open-minded about fracking, which is currently dividing the green and grey worlds. Although in a perfect world it would be nice if it was unnecessary, in the real world green energy can only supply a small fraction of our energy needs; and fracking might make Britain energy rich and reduce bills for the people. Although knowing how the energy companies have profited while raising bills over the last twenty years, we don’t trust them at all.
And that leads nicely into the third and final w of the www of the Greenygrey philosophy: wolf. Wolf is the icon for wildlife and environment, and of course also the Greenygrey website.
Although the last couple of weeks have been enjoyable and rewarding, it’ll be a relief to escape into nature and wildlife; writing about women and the working-class can be controversial and divisive, and everybody loves a wolf don’t they…
Hi, it’s Grey Greyvara, the Greenygrey’s political conscience, and werewolf parallel to the human Che Guevara. Today, we start to round off working-class week with a summary of how and why we view the current U.K. and world political situation.
When Marc Latham was in university he felt prejudiced against, like a microcosm of the British situation told in Chavs: The Demonising of the Working-Class, with an international emphasis on everything, and the old working-class being framed as backward; being blamed for holding Britain back.
Marc started his PhD in line with the far left of Noam Chomsky and the Glasgow Media Group; socialist criticism of the British and ‘Western’ establishment; hoping for a more equal Britain and less international conflict. At the time he thought he was quite rare in his outlook.
But under New Labour’s revisionist internationalism, criticising Britain seemed to become the norm, while criticising other cultures was ‘racist’, and risked social exclusion. Islamism replaced socialism as the likely successor to Western capitalism in British and world hegemony.
New Labour and the Working-Class
While Marc’s hopes for hegemonic theory supported all races and genders gaining more equality under a more socialist Britain, like Che Guevara’s philosophy, New Labour’s multiculturalism seemed to be supporting other cultures while neglecting or persecuting the traditional British working-class; and women under Islamism.
Gordon Brown seemed to confirm this when he called Gillian Duffy a bigot in Rochdale for asking about immigration near the end of the New Labour tenure. Rochdale later emerged in a related infamous story, with a Muslim paedophile ring having been targeting poor and vulnerable children for years during the New Labour government.
Current Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has now admitted New Labour got it wrong on immigration and multiculturalism.
Allowed hate preachers to radicalise ordinary Muslims.
Went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq against Muslims.
I think Tony Blair was naive, and as a Christian thought he could work with his fellow monotheist Muslims; preferring them to the pagan communist Slav Russians and allies.
This was shown by New Labour’s first war; supporting Muslim Kosovars against Communist Serbs. Blair was also the only Allied leader not to attend the Russians’ VE Day 60th anniversary celebration.
Tony Blair has now stressed that Islamism is the big threat to world peace.
British Post-Modern Political System
Marc had wondered why some working-class people supported the Conservatives, as he grew up under Thatcher, but the New Labour government showed him why!
The British political system is no longer like the one Marc grew up under in the 1980s anyway, and is now more post-modern issues based.
While Marc had called for a wider hegemony in his PhD thesis, hoping for more access for the old socialism, politics in the U.K. and the world overtook him; especially as he was held up (both time-wise and financially!) by his department.
The rise of the extreme right-wing Islamic hate preachers in Britain (and I include George Galloway!), and extreme right-wing fascists in southern Europe showed him that a wider access to the political debate has as many negatives as positives.
The old communist systems were full of poor treatment of people as well, and even Che Guevara didn’t do as well in peacetime as he did in war.
So Marc is now in the Greenygrey middle, reacting to policies as much as political ideologies and traditions, and a little disillusioned with it all really. Funnily enough, that might be in line with the ‘Third Way‘ policy supported by New Labour!!!
Cathy Freeman is more known for her inspirational work for aboriginal rights, being of mixed-race parents with her mother part aboriginal.
Some Australian aborigines live in very poor conditions, and their plight was told in the haunting Rabbit-Proof Fence movie recently shown on the BBC. I would have just felt sorry for the Australian aborigines twenty years ago, but now relate it to the plight of the British working-class; or underclass as some people define the poorest and most vulnerable.
While the aborigine situation can be framed as a race issue, it can also be framed as an indigenous issue; what can happen to a native culture that allows itself to lose control of its nation’s hegemony. Not that the Australian aborigines had a political system when European colonists arrived.
The episode itself is not as dull and depressing as the paragraphs above, as working-class life isn’t; it’s full of spirit, comedy and wordplay.
I could see no way of regaining my hat, and mentioned this to Cathy. She said that’s not the spirit, before seeming to enter into a deep trance.
Snake Scares Smiggin Senseless
I couldn’t believe my eyes a minute later, but luckily Smiggin did. The hat suddenly seemed to turn into a snake, and Smiggin quickly threw it into the air.
It flew a few feet, opening up into a full ten-foot length, before coiling back and once again becoming the emerald cork hat I’d grown to know and love. I dived to regain it, catching it one-handed two-feet off the three-dimensional floor.
Smiggin Creates Another Hole
I was looking forward to a soft landing in a mush of muddy earth and crisp leaves, when the ground opened up below me. I heard a cackle from Smiggin, and guessed it’d used its potent powers to open up another hole below where I was about to land.
The holiculturist had done itself proud with this one; it was more mineshaft than grave. I faced falling into a hole from which I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to emerge.
Times they are a changin’… Although summer is holding on in Britain, and could even be roaring back later this week, the nights are drawing in, and nature seems to be readying itself for the annual change from summer to autumn (fall). Over the last few days I noticed the leaves rustling in the wind.
They’ve probably done it at other times in the summer, and maybe it’s more in my mind, but the trees seemed to be shaking themselves up for the big change. Here’s a Folding Mirror poem it inspired, imagining what summer and autumn are saying in their greeting:
Good Summer Season, Warmly Welcomes Autumn
summer meets autumn
after year apart
shaking windy branches
upturned leaves smile
under changeable skies
warm greeting over, time for disclosure
my best season
for many years
autumn changes mood
I worked overtime
winter was late
Hi, it’s Martin ‘Werewolfie’ Adams, comedy satire sports correspondent at the Greenygrey. It sure has been an exciting week and weekend of sport, and we have the best of the greenygrey werewolf action here for you.
World Championships Athletics
The World Championships athletics was great this week, with fabulous performances by some of the world’s best in Moscow. Shelley-Anne Fraser-Pryce, Usain Bolt and Mo Farah all won two individual golds, and the former two also won relay golds too.
Bolt and Fraser-Pryce of course starred for Team GG at London 2012, and new Team GG member Nick Symmonds collected a silver in the Moscow 800 metres.
Together, they showed the style, speed and stamina needed for a world-class werewolf.
Hi, it’s Wolf Whitzer with a GGN comedy satire newsflash. It has been confirmed that Simon Wolfell has resigned as musical entrepreneur at the Greenygrey because of the behaviour of his human parallel, Simon Cowell.